What does leadership look like for a Christian business owner?
There’s no doubt that small business owners are leaders and managers, but the question is, how should a Christian demonstrate leadership in business? The good news is that there are lots of ways. Entrepreneurship provides an excellent opportunity for Christians to lead, stand out, and demonstrate the love of God.
Christian leadership in business is simply walking in a manner that pleases God, running your business for his glory, and the ability to get people to buy into your vision. Christian leadership is servant leadership. It’s a desire to serve people and make their lives better.
Here are some practical ways to be a Christian business leader.
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1. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:12)
A Christian business leader doesn’t hold other people to a higher standard or to standards they are not willing to conform to themselves. As a parent, how many times have you told your kids not to do something while you indulge in those same practices?
I will be the first to admit that I don’t always lead by example even though I know what is required of me. But, I strive to do what is right and lead by example as a business leader.
Before I continue, let me say that if you own a business, you are a leader. You don’t need to have a big company with lots of employees to consider yourself a business leader. As long as you have people who look up to you or people you can influence, then you are a Christian business leader.
Even if you are a small business owner or a sole proprietor, you are a business leader because you can influence your customers and other people you do business with.
So, a Christian business leader sets the tone for their business. Live by what you preach and conduct your business without reproach. If you have employees, mirror the kind of behavior, habits, or values you expect from them.
If you want your employees to be honest, make sure you are always honest. You want your employees to practice good time management? Let them see you being diligent and spending your time the way you should.
It’s so much easier to tell people what to do than it is to show them, but you demonstrate Christian leadership in business when you lead by example.
2. BE AN EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR
“The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips.” (Proverbs 16:23)
A Christian business leader should be able to communicate effectively with employees, customers, vendors, contractors, or anyone they do business with.
To achieve your business goals, you must be able to articulate those goals and ensure your goals reflect your Christian values.
Now, effective communication is not only about your business goals, it is also about how you treat people or speak to them. Are you brash, rude, or condescending or do you speak with respect, love, and appreciation?
Many years ago I had a supervisor who spoke rudely to everyone. She didn’t care how she came across because she was in a position of power. Words can be hurtful and can do a lot of damage, contrary to what some people believe.
You display Christian leadership in business when you build up instead of destroying or undermining others. Yes, some customers or employees will push your buttons, but you can control how you respond to them.
The Bible says in Proverbs 25:11, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” What this means is that you should choose your words carefully.
Your words should edify and make people feel like they matter. Since we have no idea what others are going through, we have to be real careful how we communicate with them.
The ability to communicate effectively is a key attribute of a Christian business leader, and it can open up a lot of doors for you. Whether it’s trying to get people to buy into your vision, obtain business funding, or close a sale.
So, learn to become an effective communicator so you can ensure your words are always seasoned with grace. If you’d like to improve your communication skills, check out the book below.
3. BE ORGANIZED
Disorganization is responsible for many issues entrepreneurs face. As a business leader, it’s your responsibility to organize your business so things can go in the right direction.
Being organized will allow you to accomplish important goals, meet deadlines, and also keep your customers happy.
If you are a small business owner, you know how tricky it is to juggle everything. The only way to stay on top of your responsibilities is to be organized. Unless you like chaos and unproductivity, you must learn to be organized.
Being organized will boost your productivity, improve morale, and also sales and profit. Below are some important areas of your business you need to organize.
- Production and order fulfillment
- Marketing and sales
- Revenue and profit
- Financial records
- Staying on track with deadlines and important dates. Use a to-do list, planner, or calendar to manage your time and stay on track.
Organizing these areas of your business means important things are not neglected in favor of busywork. How to stay organized is one of the most important skills business owners should have, so if you struggle in this area, you need to work on it because it can affect the success of your business.
4. INVEST IN YOURSELF AND OTHERS
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
Christian business leaders have an obligation to invest in themselves and in others. Running a business gives you a lot of opportunities to invest in the lives of others, so it’s an opportunity worth taking.
Before we talk about why you should invest in others, let’s talk about the importance of investing in yourself.
As an entrepreneur and a business leader, you can’t afford to remain stagnant. When you don’t invest in yourself, you stunt your growth both as a person and business owner. Staying the same is not an option for any entrepreneur who wants to build a thriving business.
The business landscape changes every year. Sometimes, it feels like as soon as you finish learning one thing, something new comes up that you have to learn.
Now, let me caution against the endless need to invest in things because of the fear of missing out (otherwise known as FOMO). You have to be strategic when it comes to investing in yourself. You don’t need to attend every conference or workshop or buy every course to succeed in business.
You only need to invest in the things that are essential for your business success. For example, right now, I don’t need to know how to create an online course, so a webinar or course on how to create one isn’t a good investment for me.
For business owners, it’s important to know what your skills are, and what you need to grow your business before you invest in anything. You are going to be bombarded by lots of offers, so unless you know what you need, you will spend a lot of money investing in things that aren’t helpful.
Conversely, it’s unwise to think you don’t need to invest in yourself or learn new things to succeed.
One of the reasons businesses fail is a lack of investment. You can’t Google every answer or find a free resource for every problem you might face. You should have an education budget and be willing to invest when required. That’s how you sharpen your knowledge and acquire the skills you need.
Now, let’s talk about why you should invest in others.
You demonstrate Christian leadership in business when you support the people around you, and you give them the tools they need to succeed.
A long time ago, I was a new employee at a company. They expected quite a lot from me, but they didn’t furnish me with the tools I needed to succeed or do a good job. So, I basically had to figure everything out on my own.
Empowering others is a good display of Christian leadership in business. When you help those around you succeed, guess what? Their success will rub off on you too.
So, take some time to think about what investments you can make for yourself and others around you. Investments can come in the form of spending time to learn or teach something or spending money to acquire necessary business skills and knowledge.
5. MAKE GOOD DECISIONS
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2:6)
Running a business involves a lot of decision-making. Many businesses have been ruined because they couldn’t recover from bad decision-making.
I have made a lot of bad decisions over the years, and it’s by the grace of God that I am still standing. I am sure it is the same for many of you.
Entrepreneurs have to make a lot of decisions daily. While some of these decisions won’t have a major impact on your business or life, some can cripple you if you are not vigilant or diligent.
Here are some examples of decisions a Christian in business has to make.
- Hiring decisions
- Partnership decisions
- Funding decisions
- Production and operational decisions
- Marketing and pricing decisions
There are lots of other decisions business owners have to make to keep their business running smoothly, but the ones above can have a lasting effect on your business. So, if you want to demonstrate Christian leadership in your business, you have to be careful how you make decisions and what kind of decisions you make.
Your decisions should come after a lot of research. They should be fact-based and motivated by love and a genuine need to improve lives.
As a Christian, your decisions should not be fueled by greed, envy, or a desire to take advantage of others. Instead, your decisions should inspire faith and trust in you. Never allow your motives to come into question.
As much as you can, be transparent and honest, especially if you have employees. Make sure everyone knows your decisions seek to improve lives and avoid making rash decisions on important matters.
If you need to learn how to make good decisions, ask God to grant you wisdom, and seek counsel from others with more experience than you.
6. HOW TO DEMONSTRATE CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP IN BUSINESS: BE ACCOUNTABLE
As a parent, it can be frustrating when my kids make excuses instead of fessing up or taking responsibility for their actions. However, I know that it’s up to me to model the behavior I expect from them, so I try to be responsible and own up when I make mistakes.
This kind of attitude is what you should display in your business. Accountability is one trait that should set Christians apart because you know you are accountable to God.
Unfortunately, lots of Christian entrepreneurs fall short in this area. Instead of owning up when they make mistakes, they make excuses or blame others for their shortcomings.
Let me show you what accountability looks like for a Christian business leader.
- Take responsibility for setting and accomplishing goals
- Build trust by supporting and inspiring the people in your business
- Take responsibility when things go wrong and come up with solutions
- Ask for feedback
There are lots of ways to be accountable in business, but the list above should give you an idea of how you can hold yourself and others accountable in your business.
Being accountable requires you to be humble, to seek and accept feedback (positive or not), and a willingness to change. To be accountable means you don’t hold others to a higher standard than you are willing to conform to.
Accountability can be hard because it requires you to be honest and in some cases, make yourself vulnerable. However, one of the true marks of a Christian leader is taking responsibility, learning from their mistakes, and understanding that you are God’s steward.
Closing thoughts on how to demonstrate Christian leadership in Business
As a Christian business owner, you are called to lead and be a light to the world.
Your business is a great avenue for you to show leadership and demonstrate your faith. In this post, I have shared some practical ways you can be a leader in business, and fulfill your calling. Use these tips to develop your leadership skills and never stop learning or growing.
Are you a Christian entrepreneur? How do you demonstrate leadership in your business?